It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, rovers of the industry, critics and professional eaters. This year, the group were asked eight questions, spanning meal of the year to biggest dining grievance. Their answers will appear throughout this week. Responses are related in no particular order; cut, pasted, and unedited below. Earlier today it was restaurant standbys, now it's time for the most impressive restaurant newcomers in 2017.
Adam Coghlan, Eater London editor: Nuala, Koya City, Parsons, Westerns Laundry, Ikoyi, Rochelle Canteen at the ICA, XU, Bibendum. A nod to Motu and The Kitchens in Spitalfields market, too. Neither are strictly restaurants but both have used nous to create restaurant-quality food in new and innovative ways.
Victoria Stewart, food writer: Rochelle Canteen ICA; Santo Remedio.
James Hansen, food writer, editor and Eater London contributor: Most of my new darlings are in fact slight cop-outs, new riffs or iterations of a winning formula: Rochelle moving into the ICA, Smoking Goat into Redchurch Street, Santo Remedio into Borough. For genuine fresh faces? Westerns Laundry can’t go unmentioned, neither can Lorne or Sparrow. Red Rooster opening in the capital was a seismic moment, while Cub’s opening was a pleasing one: a new idea of a restaurant, in a city at least somewhat ready for it.
Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: Llewellyn's, Humble Grape, Lorne, Xu.
Zeren Wilson, restaurant discoverer and author of Bitten & Written: Westerns Laundry, Winemakers Deptford, Lorne, Pique-Nique, Ikoyi, XU, Smoking Goat Bar Shoreditch (full disclosure, I help with the wine list), Plaquemine Lock, Neo Bistro. Last minute 2017 openings: Londrino (90’+2), Koya City (90’+4) and Parsons (90’+6).
Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, food writer and co-founder of the YBFs: Rochelle ICA, Neo Bistro, Duddell’s and Nuala. Just visited the latter last night where I had a clam dish with butter, pistachio and grilled sourdough to dunk in the creamy juices. That’s one of my favourite meals of the year. It was creamy, fatty, bursting with flavour, loved it.
Sophie Brown, freelance food writer: Pastaio – simply divine.
Felicity Spector, Channel 4 News writer and pastry lover: Llewelyn’s, Sparrow, Rochelle ICA, Monty’s Deli.
Laurel Ives, former food editor of The Sunday Times The Dish: Two standout revamps of old haunts come to mind. For a blow out visit Claude Bosi at Bibendum, the set lunch is the most affordable way to try the faultless food, and the beautiful room and stained glass window are at their best during daylight. Similarly an old fave the ICA has had a revamp, and welcomed the brilliant Rochelle Canteen to its home on the Mall.
Best of all for me was the arrival of Westerns Laundry to my neighbourhood. I’ve had many a raucous night at their first restaurant Primeur round the corner, and the new place is just as good with a greater emphasis on seafood.